ANTIGONISH: This week over 30 Antigonish residents joined demonstrators across Canada to raise concerns about the federal government’s plan to move forward with the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Demonstrators gathered outside of Central Nova MP Sean Fraser’s office in Antigonish on Monday to voice their opposition to the federal government’s agreement with Kinder Morgan to purchase the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
“We’re here to express our shock, our opposition, and our outrage to the government’s recent decision to spend $4.5 billion taxpayer dollars on the pipeline,” said Patrick Yancey, spokesperson for Fair Climate Transition (FaCT) and organizer of Monday’s rally.
In May, the federal government announced its agreement with Kinder Morgan to purchase the company’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project and related pipeline and terminal assets in order to see the stalled project completed. The government has also agreed to provide funding for the 2018 construction season through loan guarantees in order to move forward with the project.
Yancey said he is concerned with the lack of public consultation prior to the government’s decision.
“The idea that we have $4.5 billion just lying around to use on something like that has come as a shock to a lot of Canadians, and the idea that we are not going to have any kind of public debate around what we could use it on,” said Yancey. “For example, we could build the world’s largest solar plant 16 times over; we could create 50,000 new green jobs for Canadians right here. We could resolve all of the drinking water issues on First Nations, and we could purchase a national pharmacare program for three months.”
Yancey said his biggest concern is the effect the project will have on the environment.
“The amount of carbon that’s going to go into the air that the pipeline and the expansion represents would blow through a huge chunk of the world’s remaining carbon budget at a time when a lot of other countries, a lot of countries that aren’t as wealthy as Canada, are making major commitments to do their part on climate change,” Yancey said.
Rallies took place across Canada on Monday as part of a National Day of Action to protest the buy-out. Organizers say they plan to deliver petitions to the government signed by over 100,000 people who oppose the project.
“This demonstration and the over 100 others going on around the country today we hope will give the Trudeau government pause and hopefully make them reconsider what they’re doing, and make them take note of the opposition here at home from their constituents,” said Yancey.